MIKE BARA IS AN EXPERIENCED JETLINER DESIGNER.
Mike himself told us this near the beginning of his latest venture in pseud-psych internet radio — a two-hour session last Saturday night on something called Shiny Side Out. It comes from Australia, which guarantees that guests on phone lines from Seattle will be fairly incomprehensible. By inviting Mike Bara, the host guaranteed that his guest would be ignorant in addition to incomprehensible.
Mike voiced those seven words of doom in connection with the TWA Flight 800 disaster, which he credited with having jump-started his new "career" as a conspiracy theorist. He wanted us to believe that he had special expertise which made his eccentric opinion about the disaster credible. However, he spoiled it a bit by saying, later, "Newtonian physics is wrong", "Red shift is complete nonsense", and "If you spin something you will get more energy than you put into it". As we know, his opinion of physicists in general is that "most of them are blithering idiots."
So much for expertise. Toward the end Mike ventured again into the realm of planetary astronomy, a field which has been the undoing of both him and his former co-author more times than you can shake a JPL engineer with a mohawk at. He said this: "The Moon feels more gravitational pull from the Sun than it does from the Earth." Let's see now....
µ for Earth: 4 x 106 km3 sec-2
µ for Sun: 1.32 x 1011 km3 sec-2
Mass of Moon: 7.35 x 1022 kg
Moon-Earth distance 3.84 x 105 km
Moon-Sun distance 1.5 x 108 km
The factor µ is the Standard Gravitational Parameter of an astronomical body. It's the product of the body's mass and the Universal Gravitational Constant, G.
Gravitational attraction between any two bodies is given by µM/d2
where µ is the SGP of one body, M is the mass of the other body, and d is the distance between them.
Therefore for the Earth-Moon system:
F = (4 x 7.35 x 1028) divided by (3.842 x 1010)
= (29.4/14.74) x 1018
= 2 x 1018 newtons
for the Sun-Moon system:
F = (1.32 x 7.35 x 1033) divided by (1.52 x 1016)
= (9.70/2.25) x 1017
= 4.31 x 1017 newtons, an order of magnitude less than the Earth-Moon figure.
NOTE: The above calculation is in error. µ for Earth should be 4 x 105 km3 sec-2. Therefore the correct figure for F(Earth) is 2 x 1017 newtons, less than half the figure for the Sun-Moon system. Mike Bara is correct.